Why we matter
Members of the UN Major Group for Children and Youth during negotiations at the UN World Conference for Disaster Risk Reduction
It is unusual to see a young person in a political meeting or a round of negotiations. If a person in their early 20s is present, chances are high that he or she is an intern, sitting in the back of the room, working for free, without speaking rights. However, the numbers could not be clearer: at the beginning of 2012, the world’s population reached 7 billion, with more than half of that being people under 30. The lack of young persons in regional, national and international politics shows a huge disconnect between constituencies and their representation in decision- making. In an international setting, conventions and frameworks between countries are developed without consulting half of the people they concern and have an impact on. Fortunately, this is changing: young people are represented more and more in international processes. Since the Earth Summit in 1992 and the realization that sustainable development could not be achieved by governments alone, civil society has started to play an increasingly important role within the United Nations. The UN Major Group system most actively, but also other outlets, are finally giving a mandated space to children and youth, who are organizing and leading their own representation. The structure and attitude towards youth policy and action also has an influence on the constituency: changing a predominant image of vulnerability to a mentality of mobilization and action.
Categories: World Humanitarian Summit